The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2015

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Page 14 of 136

14  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2015 THE MESSAGE Brief Encounters Whether THE TASTING PANEL goes to the brand execs or the brands call us, there is an abundance of news to report, from the latest releases to behind-the-scenes experiences with some of the world's most influential importers, winemakers, distillers . . . well, you name it. We may not have enough pages in each issue to devote as much attention as we would like to each person whose path we cross, but please note that if it's in the publication, we deem it noteworthy. —Meridith May, Publisher & Editorial Director I f you ever get the chance to have lunch with Michel Chapoutier, one of the world's great wine- makers and owner of some of the most coveted vineyards in France, the last thing you should expect to talk about is his wine. That, at least, was the experience of a select few, myself included, who got the chance to dine with Mr. Chapoutier earlier this spring at New York restaurant Benoit (owned by renowned chef Alain Ducasse), where, over the course of three hours, he mused about everything from French and American politics to helicopters (he is a pilot), dishware (he owns a china company) and even mysticism and meditation (he's a fan), before eventually succumbing, somewhat reluctantly, to discussing the famed Northern Rhône wines for which he is so well known. Chapoutier, an early champion of biodynamic and organic grape production, whose meticulously crafted small production wines can reach upwards of $600 per bottle at retail, certainly knows his Hermitage, but he's also the first to say that they do not define him. "I think it's important for people to know that even my entry level wines, like my Côtes du Rhônes for instance, are given the same atten- tion from start to finish as my top wines," he said. M. Chapoutier wines are imported by Terlato Wines. — David Ransom A Rhône Master in Manhattan

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